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Life Planning

The Bucket Wheel® – directing your spend


Kim Potgieter

Kim Potgieter

February 5, 2019
Are you living your dream life? Do you feel like your life is a grand adventure? Does your money support the goals you have for your life?

Your life has everything to do with you and what resonates with you; it’s about your dreams. It’s about allocating your money – and your time – on things that are important to you. Your journey is an individual one, with twists and turns, ups and downs, but most of all, it should also be filled with things that make you happy. Your money should be structured in such a way as to enable the life you envision for yourself.

Most of us really are just too busy doing things; so busy that we don’t have time left to enjoy things. We are constantly chasing deadlines (and trust me, there is always another deadline); caring for other people, looking after things, creating things; and our list of things to get done is a never-ending one.

And then something happens, a wake-up call, the universe’s way of sending you a message reminding you that time is short, to enjoy life while you still can. Sometimes these messages reach us via friends or loved ones – a cancer scare, an unexpected illness, a car accident. And for a short time, we try – we really do. And then, as the urgency passes, our busy schedules take over again. We forget about living life and find ourselves just doing things again.

If your life is so over-extended, so busy and constantly humming with things to do, then maybe it’s time to start making changes.

Have you given any thought about what would really make you happy? For many people, the bucket list is the ideation of exiting things to do in their lifetime.

The internet is filled with 100+ ideas of what to do before you die, where to go before you “go”, things not to miss out on. It goes like this: unique bucket list ideas, 101 things to do before you die, 329 bucket list ideas to try, and 281 awesome bucket list items.

The Bucket List movie itself portrays a race against time to get things done; but it does touch on one very important point: two complete strangers find that they have two things in common: a need to come to terms with who they are and what they have done with their lives. And yes, there is also the desire to complete a list of things to do and see before they “hit the bucket.”

The question is: are you waiting for death to come knocking on your door before you spend money, time and energy on filling your life with things that are important to you as a person? Do you really want to be making these plans in a state of anxiousness and desperation?

I do love this quote from the Bucket List movie (2007): “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.

While the traditional idea of the bucket list is extremely helpful in that it focusses you on tangible objectives you want to meet in order to live life to the full, it generally conjures up ideas of things to do.

I believe that your life before and during retirement should not only be about what you want to do – but about who you are. And that’s why I prefer calling it the Bucket Wheel®.

The point of the Bucket Wheel® is to direct your energy towards what matters most. It focusses on living a balanced and fulfilled life and it urges you to invest time and energy into eight areas of your life: work, give-back, relationships, money, learning, health, purpose and play. In essence, the Bucket Wheel® integrates the idea of balance with your bucket list.

And the best part? Your Bucket Wheel® is the best indicator of what money you will need and how your money needs to work for you. This becomes your blueprint, your plan for life. And it is this wheel that you can discuss with your Financial Planner to make sure that your money enables your dreams and ambitions.

Your Bucket Wheel® is a holistic approach to the culmination of your life’s journey and it reflects all of the eight elements of your life. It gives you a chance to reflect on how balanced you feel; what is working and what is not. You Bucket Wheel® should reflect all the things you would still like to do – and be – in your life ahead.

The image below is complete Bucket Wheel® that I compiled using some of my clients’ input:

Watching the Wheel

As you feel you’ve accomplished something on your Bucket Wheel®, revisit it, slotting in new goals as you go. It is a constant reminder of what’s important to you while at the same time ensuring that you are mindful of all the important aspects of a balanced life. It is more than a list that just gets ticked off.

Bucket lists that consist only of a string of travel destinations might be ticked off one by one. But unless your bucket list incorporates all of the areas in the Bucket Wheel® image, you will find yourself less fulfilled than you thought.

Take the balance test

If you would like to see how balanced your life is, click here to access the balance test.

My final thought: don’t allow how much money you have dictate the type of life you want to live. Be master of your money and align your financial plan with your very own Bucket Wheel®.

“The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, he was a genius” – Sid Caesar, American comic actor and writer.

Enjoy inventing your very own, personalised Bucket Wheel®!


This article was originally published in the Longevity Magazine December 2018 issue. You can access more of Kims Longevity articles here.

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